Loughry had no option but to quit

Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry resigned Friday — but only after it became obvious to him that he had no realistic option.

Loughry resigned from his post, effective at the close of business Monday.

He is one of two ex-justices charged with federal crimes. Loughry’s actions have been in sharp contrast to those of the other justice, Menis Ketchum.

Ketchum resigned immediately after being charged, then pleaded guilty to charges involving misuse of a state vehicle and gasoline credit card. He is yet to be sentenced.

Loughry, at one time accused of about two dozen assorted crimes, refused to resign. Other justices suspended him.

Then Loughry was convicted of 11 federal offenses. He is seeking a new trial.

After an aborted attempt to impeach Loughry, legislators had been scheduled to try again this week. And he was set to appear before a Judicial Hearing Board that could have led to his removal.

Ketchum deserves some credit for owning up to his mistakes and resigning. Loughry, convicted of far more serious misbehavior, has not done the same.

So Ketchum did the right thing. Loughry, departing only in the face of removal, has refused to emulate his former fellow justice.